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Practicing Issues #2880603
08/17/19 12:47 PM
08/17/19 12:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
J
jazzpig Offline OP
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jazzpig  Offline OP
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J

Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
I'm sure there must be another thread about this somewhere, but...

There are days such as today, when I'm practicing scales, and
it will get all messy with something simple that I've basically
mastered for a while. I will go for days playing it clean, then today,
my hands struggle, feel like a bunch of bananas until I grind it back
into place.

It's frustrating because just as I feel I'm making progress, feeling
connected with my keyboard, my fingers struggle to find their place
and I have to revisit stuff that I should have moved on from.

Anyone else go through this?

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Re: Practicing Issues [Re: jazzpig] #2880613
08/17/19 01:19 PM
08/17/19 01:19 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,955
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by jazzpig
I'm sure there must be another thread about this somewhere, but...

There are days such as today, when I'm practicing scales, and
it will get all messy with something simple that I've basically
mastered for a while. I will go for days playing it clean, then today,
my hands struggle, feel like a bunch of bananas until I grind it back
into place.

It's frustrating because just as I feel I'm making progress, feeling
connected with my keyboard, my fingers struggle to find their place
and I have to revisit stuff that I should have moved on from.

Anyone else go through this?





Yes! It's a natural thing to have happen. You make progress, progress, progress, and then suddenly you have a day that makes you feel like all that work was undone! Take a day off from that thing and let your mind catch up from all that progress. smile


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Practicing Issues [Re: jazzpig] #2880614
08/17/19 01:26 PM
08/17/19 01:26 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,452
Florida
dogperson Offline

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Florida
Yes..... I call it ‘mitten hands’ where my fingers just don’t function (maybe it’s my brain?). I have finally recognized it will happen intermittently and take a break.

Re: Practicing Issues [Re: jazzpig] #2880617
08/17/19 01:39 PM
08/17/19 01:39 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,887
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted by jazzpig
I'm sure there must be another thread about this somewhere, but...

There are days such as today, when I'm practicing scales, and
it will get all messy with something simple that I've basically
mastered for a while. I will go for days playing it clean, then today,
my hands struggle, feel like a bunch of bananas until I grind it back
into place.

It's frustrating because just as I feel I'm making progress, feeling
connected with my keyboard, my fingers struggle to find their place
and I have to revisit stuff that I should have moved on from.

Anyone else go through this?



These are the phrases that, to me, stand out in your post and may point to part of the problem:

"...my hands struggle..." "... I grind it back into place " "....my fingers struggle..."

There is a suggestion here of effort, force, and tension. Relax, take a deep breath, slow down a bit, and the problem may be resolved.

At other times, it just helps to take a break and work on something else.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Re: Practicing Issues [Re: BruceD] #2880689
08/17/19 05:54 PM
08/17/19 05:54 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
J
jazzpig Offline OP
Full Member
jazzpig  Offline OP
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J

Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
Thanks for the feedback
Nice to know it's not out of the ordinary.
Of course I expect off days, but this leaves me scratching my
head going "Wha"?

Re: Practicing Issues [Re: jazzpig] #2880695
08/17/19 06:25 PM
08/17/19 06:25 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,016
Richmond, BC, Canada
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Charles Cohen Offline
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I love "mitten hands" -- exactly right. And very common.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Practicing Issues [Re: jazzpig] #2880746
08/17/19 10:08 PM
08/17/19 10:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,474
Australia
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earlofmar Offline
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Australia
when I was able to run long distances for hours, there would be days when for no good reason everything just felt off. On such days a simple half hour run could feel like I was running for the first time, so I doubt this problem is isolated to piano. Always good to listen to what your body is telling you.


Following Trying to follow the Ling Ling 40 hour method

Kawai K8 & Kawai Novus NV10


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Re: Practicing Issues [Re: Charles Cohen] #2880848
08/18/19 08:50 AM
08/18/19 08:50 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,444
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
I love "mitten hands" -- exactly right. And very common.



Me too.
I'm also expanding it to "mitten brain."


Learner
Re: Practicing Issues [Re: jazzpig] #2880854
08/18/19 09:17 AM
08/18/19 09:17 AM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,105
Leicester, UK
M
Mark Polishook Offline
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Leicester, UK
To the OP—what you’re describing is very natural and happens to every pianist. The only thing is those who have been playing for a long time recognise when it is happening and just leave it at that. Or perhaps some have a different attitude or a different solution to it. But it’s the “non-judgemental” part of the practice process to which I’m referring.

If you’re practicing diligently, which you probably are, and if you’re paying attention to what your playing, which you probably are, then over time, your skills with the things you mention will improve. But at the same time the learning process isn’t linear and what we master today may not be there tomorrow.

Enjoy the process of practicing (and concentrate on your doing and learning, etc.) and all else will come .... in time ....

Re: Practicing Issues [Re: jazzpig] #2881492
08/20/19 12:30 AM
08/20/19 12:30 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,909
Auckland, New Zealand
T
Ted Offline
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T

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,909
Auckland, New Zealand
Originally Posted by jazzpig
I'm sure there must be another thread about this somewhere, but...

There are days such as today, when I'm practicing scales, and
it will get all messy with something simple that I've basically
mastered for a while. I will go for days playing it clean, then today,
my hands struggle, feel like a bunch of bananas until I grind it back
into place.

It's frustrating because just as I feel I'm making progress, feeling
connected with my keyboard, my fingers struggle to find their place
and I have to revisit stuff that I should have moved on from.

Anyone else go through this?


As the others say, an occasional day like this is quite normal and nothing to worry about. It is possible to develop ways of dealing with it and returning to fluency after a few minutes. It might be using some particular touch, slowing down a bit or playing more lightly. What works for one person might not work for another though and any solution is personal.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Practicing Issues [Re: jazzpig] #2881498
08/20/19 01:01 AM
08/20/19 01:01 AM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 107
Adelaide, South Australia
C
CharlesXX Offline
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Joined: May 2017
Posts: 107
Adelaide, South Australia
We all have our off days. Don't worry about it.

"Practicing scales"? Maybe move onto some pieces you like.

Re: Practicing Issues [Re: CharlesXX] #2881505
08/20/19 02:07 AM
08/20/19 02:07 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,909
Auckland, New Zealand
T
Ted Offline
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Auckland, New Zealand
Originally Posted by CharlesXX
We all have our off days. Don't worry about it.

"Practicing scales"? Maybe move onto some pieces you like.


That's a good idea, and if you must practise scales, improvise using them in varied ways to maintain musical interest.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Practicing Issues [Re: earlofmar] #2881630
08/20/19 01:14 PM
08/20/19 01:14 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
J
jazzpig Offline OP
Full Member
jazzpig  Offline OP
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J

Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
Originally Posted by earlofmar
when I was able to run long distances for hours, there would be days when for no good reason everything just felt off. On such days a simple half hour run could feel like I was running for the first time, so I doubt this problem is isolated to piano. Always good to listen to what your body is telling you.

That's a perfect analogy.
I can relate to that completely.

Re: Practicing Issues [Re: Ted] #2881632
08/20/19 01:20 PM
08/20/19 01:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
J
jazzpig Offline OP
Full Member
jazzpig  Offline OP
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J

Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
Originally Posted by Ted
Originally Posted by jazzpig
I'm sure there must be another thread about this somewhere, but...

There are days such as today, when I'm practicing scales, and
it will get all messy with something simple that I've basically
mastered for a while. I will go for days playing it clean, then today,
my hands struggle, feel like a bunch of bananas until I grind it back
into place.

It's frustrating because just as I feel I'm making progress, feeling
connected with my keyboard, my fingers struggle to find their place
and I have to revisit stuff that I should have moved on from.

Anyone else go through this?


It is possible to develop ways of dealing with it and returning to fluency after a few minutes. It might be using some particular touch, slowing down a bit or playing more lightly.

I've done this and it does work well for me. I have to fight my own stubbornness sometimes, again, because
I feel like I'm regressing, but I am realizing that it is a false perception.

Re: Practicing Issues [Re: Mark Polishook] #2881645
08/20/19 01:41 PM
08/20/19 01:41 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
J
jazzpig Offline OP
Full Member
jazzpig  Offline OP
Full Member
J

Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
Originally Posted by Mark Polishook
To the OP—what you’re describing is very natural and happens to every pianist. The only thing is those who have been playing for a long time recognise when it is happening and just leave it at that. Or perhaps some have a different attitude or a different solution to it. But it’s the “non-judgemental” part of the practice process to which I’m referring.

If you’re practicing diligently, which you probably are, and if you’re paying attention to what your playing, which you probably are, then over time, your skills with the things you mention will improve. But at the same time the learning process isn’t linear and what we master today may not be there tomorrow.

Enjoy the process of practicing (and concentrate on your doing and learning, etc.) and all else will come .... in time ....

I'm coming to terms with this understanding.
This is my issue subconsciously, I think.
I'm an older guy with a musical background, at a beginners level in piano.
Because I have aspirations, nothing lofty or really serious though,
I feel constrained by the limited window of opportunity (timewise)
to reach those goals. Every step "back" feels like valuable time lost.

To your point about the process, that's what I'm focusing on and trusting that it
will get me to the best possible place, wherever that may be. Kind of like meditation,
you'll never get to a perfect place, but the commitment to it will continually get you
to a better place.

Again, thanks to everyone for words of wisdom, it really helps a lot.

Re: Practicing Issues [Re: jazzpig] #2881862
08/20/19 11:37 PM
08/20/19 11:37 PM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 681
Toronto, Canada
T
thepianoplayer416 Offline
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Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 681
Toronto, Canada


Robert Estrin talked about muscle memory. If you practice a piece long enough, you develop muscle memory that you'd play sections of music automatically despite being difficult.

If your playing is inconsistent, you are probably not 100% sure how a piece should be played. The best way is to break it down into small chunks and do slow practice on each. Go over the trouble spots slowly until you can play them consistently at least 5x before speeding up gradually and then connecting the bits before & after.

Re: Practicing Issues [Re: thepianoplayer416] #2881948
08/21/19 07:25 AM
08/21/19 07:25 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,870
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Online content
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NobleHouse  Online Content
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Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,870
In the Ozarks of Missouri
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416


Robert Estrin talked about muscle memory. If you practice a piece long enough, you develop muscle memory that you'd play sections of music automatically despite being difficult.

If your playing is inconsistent, you are probably not 100% sure how a piece should be played. The best way is to break it down into small chunks and do slow practice on each. Go over the trouble spots slowly until you can play them consistently at least 5x before speeding up gradually and then connecting the bits before & after.


This was one of Robert Estrin's more interesting videos.


[Linked Image]
Re: Practicing Issues [Re: thepianoplayer416] #2882318
08/22/19 08:27 AM
08/22/19 08:27 AM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
J
jazzpig Offline OP
Full Member
jazzpig  Offline OP
Full Member
J

Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 39
Toronto, ON
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416


Robert Estrin talked about muscle memory. If you practice a piece long enough, you develop muscle memory that you'd play sections of music automatically despite being difficult.

If your playing is inconsistent, you are probably not 100% sure how a piece should be played. The best way is to break it down into small chunks and do slow practice on each. Go over the trouble spots slowly until you can play them consistently at least 5x before speeding up gradually and then connecting the bits before & after.

I've watched some of his videos, great for technique.
I love the energy and spirit that he brings to his videos.


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